‘No portals will be blocked’ – CBAASC Pres, Assoc Dean

The College of Business Administration and Accountancy (CBAA) Student Council (CBAASC) President Shiela Catanghal clarified that “no portals will be blocked” for students who did not attend the event “KAPITAL: Kultura at Adhikaing Pilipino bilang Tatak Lasalyano” on April 16 and 20 despite the claims of political opinion blog Thinking Pinoy, which created an online stir on April 19 through a Facebook post with a header that read, “FORCED ATTENDANCE IN LENI EVENT?”

The CBAA Associate Dean Romano Angelico Ebron also affirmed that he has never blocked the portal of students who have not attended required events.

In a Facebook post by Thinking Pinoy, blog administrator RJ Nieto mentioned that a source from DLSU-D told him, “VP Leni Robredo is a guest speaker dito sa La Salle Dasma tomorrow. Attendance is a must sa mga students. May pananakot from student leaders na kapag hindi um-attend don, iho-hold yong account nila sa grades or yong grades [sa] portal nila.”

The post gathered more than 16,000 reactions from netizens, with many criticizing DLSU-D and the event organizers for “threatening” students to attend an event with guest speaker Vice President Leni Robredo, a political figure from the Liberal Party often criticized by Thinking Pinoy followers and supporters of the administration.

The post occurred at a crucial time for Robredo as her vote recount with VP opponent Bongbong Marcos is still ongoing.


Fact check

Correcting the inaccuracy of Thinking Pinoy’s post, Catanghal clarified in an online interview with The HERALDO FILIPINO that “No portals will be blocked if they (students) didn’t attend [the event]. If it is their alternative class, it is upon the discretion of their respective professors what will be their consequence if they didn’t attend.”

Ebron, the adviser of CBAASC, also confirmed the said fact, stating that the alleged threats to block the portals of students who did not attend the event are baseless as the authority to hold accounts is only for “academic obligations” and “monitoring nanganganib na those who have incurred failing subjects”.

“No student organization or council has the authority to do so,” Catanghal added, refuting the claims that student leaders threatened to block the portals of students who didn’t attend.

In reference to the individual who shared inaccurate information that portals would be blocked if students did not attend the event, Catanghal said, “Please be careful with whatever things that you’ll tell the student body and especially refrain from using other people’s name or position.”

The student in question who allegedly stated that their portals would be blocked in the screenshot of the group chat included in Thinking Pinoy’s post has refused to be interviewed by The HERALDO FILIPINO. However, according to the student, he plans to raise a case at the Student Welfare and Formation Office. Whether this case is regarding the unidentified person who shared the screenshots of the group chat to Thinking Pinoy is yet to be confirmed.


Students engage

The viral post of Thinking Pinoy currently has over 2,000 comments, including comments from numerous DLSU-D students in defense of the council, the event, and the school despite the criticism and attacks they received.

“I am really grateful that my fellow Lasallians are critical enough to distinguish what is real from what is not. Their words serve as our motivation and encouragement to keep going and remained calm during the event itself,” Catanghal said. “In behalf of the CBAASC, we would like to say thank you, thank you for being with us. I’ve read posts criticizing you (students) but I commend your audacity. This is just politics after all and this one should serve as a lesson to everyone.”

Among one of the many Lasallians who engaged in the online debate in the comments section of the post was Jullian Wilmer Morabe, a student from the College of Education, who shared how the issue made him realize his crucial responsibility as an educator to “educate my students about thinking rational[ly] and critical[ly] about different things.”

“I think we can solve this issue (student apathy in participating in campus activities) by, before requiring students to attend an event, inform them about the significance to their professional growth and wellbeing as a person,” Morabe noted on how we can address the apathy of students in joining student-led activities that may or may not require student attendance.

Meanwhile, College of Liberal Arts and Communication student Ysabela Baria touched on the subject of proper media literacy in her analysis of the situation.

“We should aready know the difference between real and fake news by actually doing some fact-checking and proper research, and to also educate the people who were misinformed instead of shaming them.”

Meanwhile, the CBAASC Associate Dean praised the council for how they handled the issue.

“I commend the student council that despite the controversy, they were able to pull the event off,” said Ebron.

Despite the controversy surrounding the post, the issue raised the discourse on responsible social media use among Lasallians. Catanghal noted that, “It will still boil down to the saying “Think before you click,” explaining that once a message is sent, the receiver has the power to do whatever he or she wishes with the message.

“Social media has been one of the avenues in expressing ourselves, let it be our stand on specific issues and or our sentiments about certain things. I acknowledge the freedom of expression but just like any other things, it should have its limitation,” Catanghal shared. “We must be mindful of our emotions and be reminded that we do not need to react in every posts or tweet especially if it is not necessary. Authenticity is also needed because whatever we post online will be our reflection.”

KAPITAL is a CBAASC event in which VP Robredo, along with others speakers such as former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez, United Nations Development Programme representative Lui Jolongbayan, and Go Negosyo Founding Trustee Joey Concepcion, tackled sustainability and entrepreneurship in the Philippine context. Robredo specifically discussed the importance of harnessing the power of technology to further advance the level of small-scale entrepreneurship in the Philippines.

Thinking Pinoy is a known pro-administration political blog that was accused of spreading fake news during the October 2, 2107 hearing by the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media.

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